The schools in the Big Ten West often get overlooked on National Signing Day, and that was the case again this season as Ohio State signed the No. 1 class in the conference and Michigan dominated the headlines with some major late commitments.
But Paul Chryst quietly put together a pretty strong class for the Badgers in his first full year as the head coach in Madison.
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Scout.com national class ranking: 25
Big Ten ranking: 5
Top-rated prospect: Cole Van Lanen, a four-star offensive tackle from Green Bay (Wisc.) Bay Port is Scout.com’s 70th-ranked prospect nationally and No. 5 at his position.
Biggest area of need potentially filled: Secondary
Best long-term buy: The Badgers brought in highly rated players at four positions where they are usually pretty good, so the best talent in this class might have to wait to see the field. That would be Van Lanen on the offensive line, Arizona defensive tackle Garrett Rand, Ohio linebacker Griffin Grady and Illinois running back Sam Brodner, all four-star recruits.
This is a key area of talent acquisition for every school even though some live in different neighborhoods than others.
The top prospect in Wisconsin was Hartland offensive guard Ben Bredeson, and he signed with Michigan. Van Lanen was No. 2. Wisconsin also signed No. 4 Mason Stoke, a three-star linebacker from Menomonie, and Tyler Bladesz, a defensive end from Amherst who was ranked No. 10 in the state.
Nate Stanley, a quarterback from Green Bay, went to Iowa, which also signed Toren Young a three-star running back from Monoma Grove who was the No. 5 player in Wisconsin.
Ranking trend: Within the Big Ten, Wisconsin has had the fourth- or fifth-best class four years in a row. The Badgers’ No. 25 national ranking is their best since Scout began doing rankings in 2002, beating the No. 26-ranked class in 2008.
In Scout’s 15 years, Wisconsin’s national ranking average is 38.2 while its Big Ten average is 5.8.
The Badgers’ four-year average nationally (20013-16) is 30.8 while it’s Big Ten average is 4.5.